Humber College announces closures amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published On March 13, 2020 | By Patrick Simpson | News
Humber announced Friday the school will be closed for a week due to the novel coronavirus. (Via Humber College).

Patrick Simpson

Humber College announced it will be closing all of its campuses for a week as the number of cases of infected with COVID-19 continues to rise in Canada.

Humber said today that because of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, the school has suspended classes between Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20. This affects the college’s North, Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses.

Humber will then switch to online based learning. The college said classes will be remaining online for the rest of its winter semester.

Humber President Chris Whitaker said the school consulted other post-secondary institutions and looked to the recommendations made by public health authorities when deciding to briefly shut down the college and make the switch to online only classes.

“We know that these decisions will cause some disruption, and we apologize for that. We’re in uncharted territory,” Whitaker said. “Our goal is to help interrupt the chain of transmission in the wider community, thereby protecting vulnerable individuals and ensuring that our health care system will not become overburdened.”  

The college said the one week break is being done so Humber faculty and staff can plan for online classes which will start for students on March 23.

Humber College also announcing that it will be taking the week to clean the technical equipment and the classrooms at Humber.

Andrew Leopold, the director of communications at Humber College, said the decision to close down the school and switch to online only classes came with weeks of monitoring and planning to ensure the best outcome for students.

“We’ve been talking about a number of different options that were available to the college in order to ensure proper academic delivery and active information that the students go about their year as appropriately as possible,” he said.

For classes that don’t work in an online environment, teachers will be in touch with students in the next couple days to figure out what can be done, Leopold said.

“For any class that is unable to be delivered in online or in an alternative format. The program will be in touch with those students to discuss what the options or what the learning will be,” he said.

Leopold said the college is still in the process of figuring out how students will be able to do final exams and will notify students in advance of the exam period.

“We’re still working through what we’re going to do for final exams and looking at contingency planning,” he said.

Humber College said field and clinical placements will be continuing.

Humber also announced that because of the virus, the school’s gym and fitness centre will be closed until further notice.

The college said that Humber’s residence will remain open and operational for students living there, but Humber is encouraging students to go home for the week of March 16 to March 20 because services will be limited during that time.

“It’s a challenging time and I appreciate your understanding and patience. We all look forward to the day when we can resume our regular activities. We will get through this together.”

-Chris Whitaker, President of Humber

The University of Guelph-Humber has also followed suit and will also be suspending services at its campus.

The plan being put in place will run roughly the same as Humber’s. All face-to-face classes are cancelled for a week. All courses will resume in an online only format on Monday, March 23. The university has announced that there will be no in person classes for Guelph-Humber students for the rest of the semester.

The University of Guelph-Humber will also be extending the winter 2020 semester by one week and the final exam period will also extended.

The university said in a twitter message that school will also be postponing all campus tours and on-campus events until May 1.

Humber’s closure comes after a number of colleges and universities across Canada have announced cancellations or moving to online classes due to the virus, including York University, University of Toronto, McMaster University and Ryerson University.

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has caused the mass cancellation of events and programs worldwide.

On Friday, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, released a memo recommending the immediate suspension of all large public events with over 250 people in an attempt to help reduce the local spread of the novel coronavirus.

The number of cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 140,000. In Canada, there are 152 confirmed cases and over 60 cases in Ontario.

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